Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem, Covid 19 vaccine, COVID-19, Cuomo, First Amendment, Free Exercise Clause, Gorsuch Dissenting, injunctive relief, Justice Alito, Justice Gorsuch, Justice Thomas, New York, New York healthcare workers, New York medical workers, pandemic, Pope Francis, religion, Sotomayor, US Supreme Court, vaccine mandate
The New York Governor appears to have mental problems, and to be dangerously delusional. She sounds like she thinks that she is God or Jesus or something – like maybe a female Mohammed. At one point she seems to think that she is Moses leading the people out of the pandemic, and at another she calls for vaccine Apostles. Frankly, I’ve never even heard of anyone who appears so bizarrely insane.
Is she suffering from vaccine-induced brain damage or was she always like this? Or does she have investments in the vaccines? Or, maybe it’s because Pope Francis condones the vaccines, and she believes in Papal infallibility? This is exactly why many refused to vote for JFK. They feared that he would put the Pope’s will above the US Constitution, which is what Governor Hochul is doing, for whatever reason. The majority of the US Supreme Court Justices are apparently Roman Catholic today. [Update: She is seriously distorting what was said by the Catholic Church and misleading the public. The official position is against mandates and allows freedom of conscience: https://miningawareness.wordpress.com/2021/12/15/vatican-cdf-stated-that-covid-19-vaccines-can-be-morally-acceptable-during-pandemic-if-clinically-safe-and-effective-but-should-be-voluntary Related: https://miningawareness.wordpress.com/2021/12/15/doctrine-of-roman-catholic-papal-infallibility-overview/ ]
The US Supreme Court dissent, led by Gorsuch, points out that the State of New York “began with a plan to exempt religious objectors from its vaccine mandate and only later changed course. Its regulatory impact statement offered no explanation for the about-face. At the same time, a new Governor whose assumption of office coincided with the change in policy admitted that the revised mandate “left off” a religious exemption “intentionally.” The Governor offered an extraordinary explanation for the change too. She said that “God wants” people to be vaccinated—and that those who disagree are not listening to “organized religion” or “everybody from the Pope on down.” Then the new Governor went on to announce changes to the State’s unemployment scheme designed to single out for special disfavor healthcare workers who failed to comply with the revised mandate. This record gives rise to more than a “slight suspicion” that New York acted out of “animosity [toward] or distrust of ” unorthodox religious beliefs and practices. Id., at ___ (slip op., at 17). This record practically exudes suspicion of those who hold unpopular religious beliefs. That alone is sufficient to render the mandate unconstitutional as applied to these applicants…
Millions have fled to this country to escape persecution for their unpopular or unorthodox religious beliefs, attracted by America’s promise that “[e]very citizen here is in his own country. To the protestant it is a protestant country; to the catholic, a catholic country; and the jew, if he pleases, may establish in it his New Jerusalem.” People v. Phillips, 1 W. L. J. 109, 112–113 (Gen. Sess., N. Y. 1813), reported in W. Sampson, The Catholic Question in America 85 (1813)”.
After the dissent, we put more extensive quotes from this nut-job who sits in the NY Governor’s office.
Those applying for injunctive relief will almost certainly prevail in the US Supreme Court in the future. But, meanwhile they are going to lose their jobs, and be ineligible for unemployment insurance.
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SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES
DR. A, ET AL., APPLICANTS v. KATHY HOCHUL, GOVERNOR OF NEW YORK, ET AL.
ON APPLICATION FOR INJUNCTIVE RELIEF
[December 13, 2021]
The application for injunctive relief presented to JUSTICE SOTOMAYOR and by her referred to the Court is denied. JUSTICE THOMAS would grant the application. JUSTICE GORSUCH, with whom JUSTICE ALITO joins, dissenting from the denial of application for injunctive relief. New York recently issued a regulation requiring healthcare workers to receive a COVID–19 vaccine. Those who cite medical reasons are exempt. But no comparable exemption exists for individuals whose sincere religious beliefs prevent them from taking one of the currently available vaccines. It seems New York is one of just three States to have a scheme like this.
And it seems originally even New York was headed in a different direction. When it announced the mandate, the then-Governor promised a religious exemption. Weeks later, the State backtracked. It offered no scientific evidence, or even a written explanation, for the decision. But a new Governor who assumed office around the same time spoke about it. The new Governor announced that the decision to eliminate the exemption was “intentiona[l]” and justified because no “organized religion” sought it and individuals who did were not “listening to God and what God wants.” Now, thousands of New York healthcare workers face the loss of their jobs and eligibility for unemployment benefits. Twenty of them have filed suit
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arguing that the State’s conduct violates the First Amendment and asking us to enjoin the enforcement of the mandate against them until this Court can decide their petition for certiorari. Respectfully, I believe they deserve that relief.
I A The doctors and nurses who filed this suit and a companion case have gone to great lengths to serve their patients during the COVID–19 pandemic. Consider two of their stories. Dr. J. is an OB/GYN who works in a New York hospital. She is also a devout Catholic. During the pandemic, she has consistently treated patients infected with COVID–19 in spite of the risks to herself.
Sometimes, in emergencies, she has had to rush into a delivery room without knowing whether a delivering mother is infected with the disease. Dr. J. has done all this even while pregnant herself. Dr. F. serves a rural town as an oral surgeon. Like Dr. J., he is Catholic and has never turned away a patient in-fected with COVID–19.
Instead, he has faced open wounds and mouths even when it involved risks to his own health. Dr. F. says he has done so because, if he had refused, many of his patients seeking care could not have obtained it else-where.
These applicants are not “‘anti-vaxxers’” who object to all vaccines. Complaint in No. 21–CV–01009 (NDNY), ¶ 37(g). Instead, the applicants explain, they cannot receive a COVID–19 vaccine because their religion teaches them to oppose abortion in any form, and because each of the currently available vaccines has depended upon abortion-derived fetal cell lines in its production or testing. The applicants acknowledge that many other religious believers feel differently about these matters than they do. But no one questions the sincerity of their religious beliefs.
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B Until very recently, none of this posed a difficulty. The pandemic began approximately 21 months ago. Vaccines became available to New York healthcare workers roughly 12 months ago. Through it all, the State allowed—and depended on—front-line healthcare workers like the applicants to serve their patients. Things only began to change four months ago when New York, for the first time, announced that it was contemplating a vaccine mandate. Even then, it did not seem the State’s plans would pose a problem for the applicants or thousands of others like them. Governor Andrew Cuomo assured the public that any new mandate would contain “exceptions for those with religious or medical reasons.” Governor Cuomo Announces COVID– 19 Vaccination Mandate for Healthcare Workers (Aug. 16, 2021), https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/governor-cuomo-announces-covid-19-vaccination-mandate-healthcare-workers. On August 18, 2021, health commissioner Howard Zucker issued the proposed mandate, indicating that it would take effect on September 27. Just as the Governor promised, it contained a religious exemption. App. to Application Exh. 8, pp. 103–104. The trouble here began only when Mr. Cuomo left the Governor’s office and Kathy Hochul assumed it.
On August 23, one day before Governor Hochul took office, the State’s Public Health and Health Planning Council—an advisory committee headed by Commissioner Zucker—proposed a revised mandate, this time with no religious exemption. The council issued the proposed regulation three days later. 10 N. Y. Admin. Code §2.61 (2021). The regulatory impact statement accompanying this decision did not discuss the feasibility of a religious exemption or the reasons for removing it. But the new Governor did. In response to a reporter’s question 12 days before the revised mandate was set to take effect on September 27, Governor Hochul acknowledged
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that “we left off [the religious exemption] in our regulations intentionally.” Governor Hochul Holds Q&A Following COVID–19 Briefing (Sept. 15, 2021), https://www. governor.ny.gov/news/video-rough-transcript-governor-hochul-holds-qa-following-covid-19-briefing. Asked why, the Governor answered that there is no “sanctioned religious exemption from any organized religion” and that organized religions are “encouraging the opposite.” Ibid. Apparently contemplating Catholics who object to receiving a vaccine, Governor Hochul added that “everybody from the Pope on down is encouraging people to get vaccinated.” Ibid. Speaking to a different audience, the Governor elaborated: “How can you believe that God would give a vaccine that would cause you harm? That is not truth. Those are just lies out there on social media.” Governor Hochul Attends Services at Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem (Sept. 12, 2021), https://governor.ny.gov/news/video-audio-photos-rush-transcript-governor-hochul-attends-servces-abyssinian-baptist-church. The day before the mandate went into effect, Governor Hochul again expressed her view that religious objections to COVID–19 vaccines are theologically flawed: “All of you, yes, I know you’re vaccinated, you’re the smart ones, but you know there’s people out there who aren’t listening to God and what God wants. You know who they are.” Governor Hochul Attends Service at Christian Cultural Center (Sept. 26, 2021), https://governor.ny.gov/news/rush-transcript – governor – hochul – attends – service -christian- cultural-center. Around the same time, Governor Hochul also announced that New York would alter its unemployment insurance scheme. Healthcare workers who failed to comply with the mandate would not only lose their jobs; they would be per se ineligible for unemployment insurance benefits. See In Preparation for Monday Vaccination Deadline, Governor
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Hochul Releases Comprehensive Plan to Address Prevent-able Health Care Staffing Shortage (Sept. 25, 2021), https:// http://www.governor.ny.gov/news/preparation-monday-vaccination-deadline -governor-hochul-releases-comprehensive-plan-address. As the State’s website explains, unemployment insurance cases are generally “reviewed on a case-by-case basis,” but healthcare workers who refuse a vaccine are “ineligible.” N. Y. State Dept. of Labor, Unemploy-ment Insurance Top Frequently Asked Questions (Sept. 25, 2021), https://dol.ny.gov/unemployment-insurance-top-frequently-asked-questions.
C Facing the imminent loss of their jobs and unemployment benefits, the doctors and nurses before us filed two separate lawsuits seeking a preliminary injunction preventing New York from enforcing its new mandate against them. In the first suit, District Judge David Hurd granted the requested relief after concluding that New York’s “intentional change in language is the kind of religious gerrymander” that vio-lates the First Amendment. Dr. A. v. Hochul, 2021 WL 4734404, *8 (NDNY, Oct. 12, 2021) (internal quotation marks omitted). In the second suit, the District Court reached a contrary conclusion and denied relief without an opinion. We The Patriots USA, Inc. v. Hochul, No. 21–cv– 4954 (EDNY, Sept. 12, 2021), App. to Application for In-junctive Relief in No. 21A125, p. 6. Ultimately, the Second Circuit issued a combined judgment rejecting all of the applicants’ claims and dissolving the preliminary injunction issued in Dr. A. See We The Patriots USA, Inc. v. Hochul, 17 F. 4th 368 (CA2 2021) (per curiam).
II We assess requests for temporary injunctive relief under a familiar standard that focuses, among other things, on the merits of the applicants’ underlying claims and the harms
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they are likely to suffer. Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn v. Cuomo, 592 U. S. ___, ___ (2020) (slip op., at 2). In this case, no one seriously disputes that, absent relief, the applicants will suffer an irreparable injury. Not only does New York threaten to have them fired and strip them of unemployment benefits. This Court has held that “[t]he loss of First Amendment freedoms, for even minimal periods of time, unquestionably constitutes irreparable injury.” Elrod v. Burns, 427 U. S. 347, 373 (1976). Accordingly, before us the parties’ fight focuses dominantly on whether the applicants are likely to succeed on the merits of their First Amendment claim. The answer to that question is clear. The Free Exercise Clause protects not only the right to hold unpopular religious beliefs inwardly and secretly. It protects the right to live out those beliefs publicly in “the performance of (or abstention from) physical acts.” Employment Div., Dept. of Human Resources of Ore. v. Smith, 494 U. S. 872, 877 (1990). Under this Court’s precedents, laws targeting acts for disfavor only when they are religious in nature or because of their religious character are “doubtless . . . unconstitutional.” Id., at 877–878. As a result, where “official expressions of hostility to religion” accompany laws or policies burdening free exercise, we have simply “set aside” such policies without further inquiry. Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Comm’n, 584 U. S. ___, ___ (2018) (slip op., at 18). But even where such overt animus is lacking, laws that impose burdens on religious exercises must still be both neutral toward religion and generally applicable or survive strict scrutiny. Church of Lukumi Babalu Aye, Inc. v. Hialeah, 508 U. S. 520, 546 (1993). To meet its burden under strict scrutiny, the government must demonstrate that its law is narrowly tailored to serve a compelling state interest. Id., at 531–532. Applying these principles to this case, New York’s mandate falters at each step.
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A Under the Free Exercise Clause, government “cannot act in a manner that passes judgment upon or presupposes the illegitimacy of religious beliefs and practices.” Masterpiece, 584 U. S., at ___–___ (slip op., at 17–18); see also Smith, 494 U. S., at 877–878. As a result, we have said that government actions burdening religious practice should be “set aside” if there is even “slight suspicion” that those actions “stem from animosity to religion or distrust of its practices.” Masterpiece, 584 U. S., at ___–___ (slip op., at 17–18). New York’s mandate is such an action. The State began with a plan to exempt religious objectors from its vaccine mandate and only later changed course. Its regulatory impact statement offered no explanation for the about-face. At the same time, a new Governor whose assumption of office coincided with the change in policy admitted that the revised mandate “left off ” a religious exemption “intentionally.” The Governor offered an extraordinary explanation for the change too. She said that “God wants” people to be vaccinated—and that those who disagree are not listening to “organized religion” or “everybody from the Pope on down.” Then the new Governor went on to announce changes to the State’s unemployment scheme designed to single out for special disfavor healthcare workers who failed to comply with the revised mandate. This record gives rise to more than a “slight suspicion” that New York acted out of “animosity [toward] or distrust of ” unorthodox religious beliefs and practices. Id., at ___ (slip op., at 17). This record practically exudes suspicion of those who hold unpopular religious beliefs. That alone is sufficient to render the mandate unconstitutional as applied to these applicants.
B New York’s regulation fares no better if the question is the law’s neutrality and general applicability. Begin with neutrality. Even absent proof of animus, a
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law will not qualify as neutral if a religious exercise is the “object” of a law and not just “incidental[ly]” or unintentionally affected by it. Smith, 494 U. S., at 878. At “minimum,” that means a law must not “discriminate on its face.” Lukumi, 508 U. S., at 533. Apart from that, it also means that a law will not qualify as neutral if it is “specifically directed at . . . religious practice.” Smith, 494 U. S., at 878; see also Lukumi, 508 U. S., at 535. For reasons we have already seen, New York’s mandate fails this test too. Rather than burden a religious exercise incidentally or unintentionally, by the Governor’s own admission the State “intentionally” targeted for disfavor those whose religious beliefs fail to accord with the teachings of “any organized religion” and “everybody from the Pope on down.” Even if one were to read the State’s actions as something other than signs of animus, they leave little doubt that the revised mandate was specifically directed at the applicants’ unorthodox religious beliefs and practices. Consider general applicability next. Recently, a majority of this Court reiterated that a law loses its claim to general applicability when it “prohibits religious conduct while permitting secular conduct that undermines the government’s asserted interests in a similar way.” Fulton v. Philadel-phia, 593 U. S. ___, ___ (2021) (slip op., at 6). That is ex-actly what New York’s regulation does: It prohibits exemptions for religious reasons while permitting exemptions for medical reasons. And, as the applicants point out, allowing a healthcare worker to remain unvaccinated undermines the State’s asserted public health goals equally whether that worker happens to remain unvaccinated for religious reasons or medical ones. See Does v. Mills, 595 U. S. ___ (2021) (GORSUCH, J., dissenting from denial of application for injunctive relief ). To be sure, the State speculates that a religious exemption could undermine the purpose of its vaccine mandate differently from a medical exemption if more people were to
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seek a religious exemption than a medical exemption. But this Court’s general applicability test doesn’t turn on that kind of numbers game. At this point in the proceedings, the only question is whether the challenged law contains an exemption for a secular objector that “undermines the government’s asserted interests in a similar way” an exemption for a religious objector might. Fulton, 593 U. S., at ___ (slip op., at 6). Laws operate on individuals; rights belong to individuals. And the relevant question here involves a one-to-one comparison between the individual seeking a religious exemption and one benefiting from a secular exemption. See, e.g., Tandon v. Newsom, 593 U. S. ___, ___ (2021) (per curiam) (slip op., at 1) (comparing the relevant secular exemptions to “the religious exercise at issue”). If the estimated number of those who might seek different exemptions is relevant, it comes only later in the proceedings when we turn to the application of strict scrutiny. See Holt v. Hobbs, 574 U. S. 352, 368 (2015) (considering sizes of different groups seeking exemptions). At that stage, a State might argue, for example, that it has a compelling interest in achieving herd immunity against certain diseases in a population. It might further contend the most narrowly tailored means to achieve that interest is to re-strict vaccine exemptions to a particular number divided in a nondiscriminatory manner between medical and religious objectors. With sufficient evidence to support claims like these, the State might prevail. See infra, at 10–11. But none of that bears on the preliminary question whether such a mandate is generally applicable or whether it treats a religious person less favorably than a secular counterpart.
C Failing either the neutrality or general applicability test is enough to trigger strict scrutiny and impose on New York the burden of showing that its law serves a compelling interest and employs the least restrictive means of doing so.
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Lukumi, 508 U. S., at 531. And even accepting for present purposes that the State can meet the first of these burdens, it cannot satisfy the second. Cf. Mills, 595 U. S., at ___–___ (opinion of GORSUCH, J.) (slip op., at 6–8). Maybe the most telling evidence that New York’s policy isn’t narrowly tailored lies in how unique it is. It seems that nearly every other State has found that it can satisfy its COVID–19 public health goals without coercing religious objectors to accept a vaccine. See Addendum to Application for Injunctive Relief. Nor has New York “offer[ed] persuasive reasons” why it, almost uniquely, cannot do the same. Holt, 574 U. S., at 369. To the contrary, as we have seen, what explanations the Governor has chosen to supply undermine rather than advance the State’s case. Though this alone is sufficient to show that New York’s law is not narrowly tailored, still more proof exists. In a similar case, Maine recently argued that it needed a 90% vaccination rate among workers in each of its healthcare facilities to protect against an undue number of COVID–19 breakout cases. Mills, 595 U. S., at ___ (opinion of GORSUCH, J.) (slip op., at 7). By contrast, in the case before us, New York has not even attempted to identify what percentage of vaccinated workers it thinks is necessary to protect public health.
And even assuming New York could prove it needed to achieve a similar vaccination rate, the evidence before us shows that employee vaccination rates in the State’s healthcare facilities already stand at between roughly 90% and 96%. Brief in Opposition to Application for Injunctive Relief 14. Putting a finer point on it: New York has presented nothing to suggest that accommodating the religious objectors before us would make a meaningful difference to the protection of public health. The State has not even tried. Before leaving the subject, one further point bears mention. As I alluded to earlier, if a State could prove that granting or denying religious exemptions would make the
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difference between achieving a crucial vaccination threshold, it may be that denying exemptions beyond that threshold number could qualify as a narrowly tailored rule necessary to achieve a compelling state interest. Again, though, the problem is that New York does not even seek to advance an argument along these or any similar lines.
III Today, we do not just fail the applicants. We fail ourselves. It is among our Nation’s proudest boasts that, “[i]f there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in [matters of] religion.” West Virginia State Bd. of Ed. v. Barnette, 319 U. S. 624, 642 (1943). In this coun-try, “religious beliefs need not be acceptable, logical, con-sistent, or comprehensible to others in order to merit . . . protection.” Thomas v. Review Bd. of Ind. Employment Security Div., 450 U. S. 707, 714 (1981). Nor is the free exercise of religion “limited to beliefs which are shared by all of the members of a religious sect.” Id., at 715–716. Millions have fled to this country to escape persecution for their unpopular or unorthodox religious beliefs, attracted by America’s promise that “[e]very citizen here is in his own country. To the protestant it is a protestant country; to the catholic, a catholic country; and the jew, if he pleases, may establish in it his New Jerusalem.” People v. Phillips, 1 W. L. J. 109, 112–113 (Gen. Sess., N. Y. 1813), reported in W. Sampson, The Catholic Question in America 85 (1813). As today’s case shows, however, sometimes our promises outrun our actions. Sometimes dissenting religious beliefs can seem strange and bewildering. In times of crisis, this puzzlement can evolve into fear and anger. It seems Governor Hochul’s thinking has followed this trajectory, and I suspect she is far from alone. After all, today a large majority of Americans—religious persons included—have taken one of the COVID–19 vaccines. It is also true that
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some faith leaders, the Pope included, have encouraged vaccination. If so many other religious persons are willing to be vaccinated, it is tempting enough to ask: What can be so wrong with coercing the few who are not? By now, though, we should know the costs that come when this Court stands silent as majorities invade the constitutional rights of the unpopular and unorthodox. More than 80 years ago, in the shadow of a looming second world war, local governments across the country rushed to encourage displays of national unity. A public school in Minersville, Pennsylvania, did its part by requiring all students to stand daily and salute the American flag. But Lillian and William Gobitas would not oblige. As Jehovah’s Witnesses, they believed they could not pledge fealty to anything or anyone except God. When the children refused to salute, the school expelled them. See S. Peters, Judging Jehovah’s Witnesses: Religious Persecution and the Dawn of the Rights Revolution 19–38 (2000) (Peters). When the Gobitas family sought this Court’s intervention, it demurred. The Court ruled that the Constitution does not “compel exemption from doing what society thinks necessary for the promotion of some great common end.” Minersville School Dist. v. Gobitis, 310 U. S. 586, 593 (1940). In doing so, the Court not only erred in the small matter of the children’s last name; it erred in the most fundamental of things. It took the view that the collective was more important than the individual—and that the demands of an impending emergency were more pressing than holding fast to the timeless promises of our Constitution. Id., at 596. In the weeks that followed the decision, Witnesses across the country suffered hundreds of physical attacks. Peters 72–95. Eventually, the Court changed course and overruled Gobitis. In West Virginia State Bd. of Ed. v. Barnette, the Court finally acknowledged what had been true all along—
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that our Constitution is intended to prevail over the passions of the moment, and that the unalienable rights recorded in its text are not matters to “be submitted to vote; they depend on the outcome of no elections.” 319 U. S., at 638. Instead, it is this Court’s duty to “apply the limitations of the Constitution with no fear that freedom to be intellectually and spiritually diverse or even contrary will disintegrate the social organization.” Id., at 641. The First Amendment protects against “coercive elimination of dissent” and “was designed to avoid these ends by avoiding these beginnings.” Ibid. Today, our Nation faces not a world war but a pandemic. Like wars, though, pandemics often produce demanding new social rules aimed at protecting collective interests— and with those rules can come fear and anger at individuals unable to conform for religious reasons. If cases like Gobitis bear any good, it is in their cautionary tale. They remind us that, in the end, it is always the failure to defend the Constitution’s promises that leads to this Court’s greatest regrets.
They remind us, too, that in America, freedom to differ is not supposed to be “limited to things that do not matter much. That would be a mere shadow of freedom. The test of its substance is the right to differ as to things that touch the heart of the existing order.” Barnette, 319 U. S., at 642. The test of this Court’s substance lies in its willingness to defend more than the shadow of freedom in the trying times, not just the easy ones. We have already lived through the Gobitis-Barnette cycle once in this pandemic. At first, this Court permitted States to shutter houses of worship while allowing casinos, movie theaters, and other favored businesses to remain open. Falling prey once more to the “judicial impulse to stay out of the way in times of crisis,” the Court allowed States to do all this even when religious institutions agreed to follow the same occupancy limits and protective measures considered safe enough for comparable gatherings in secular spaces.
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Roman Catholic Diocese, 592 U. S., at ___ (GORSUCH, J., concurring) (slip op., at 5). But as days gave way to weeks and weeks to months, this Court came to recognize that the Constitution is not to be put away in challenging times, and we stopped tolerating discrimination against religious exercises. Tandon, 593 U. S., at ___ (slip op., at 1). Finally, churches and synagogues and mosques reopened on equal footing with secular institutions. Still, it seems the old lessons are hard ones. Six weeks ago, this Court refused relief in a case involving Maine’s healthcare workers. Mills, 595 U. S. ___. Today, the Court repeats the mistake by turning away New York’s doctors and nurses. We do all this even though the State’s executive decree clearly interferes with the free exercise of religion—and does so seemingly based on nothing more than fear and anger at those who harbor unpopular religious beliefs. We allow the State to insist on the dismissal of thousands of medical workers—the very same individuals New York has depended on and praised for their service on the pandemic’s front lines over the last 21 months. To add insult to injury, we allow the State to deny these individuals unemployment benefits too. One can only hope today’s ruling will not be the final chapter in this grim story. Cases like this one may serve as cautionary tales for those who follow. But how many more reminders do we need that “the Constitution is not to be obeyed or disobeyed as the circum-stances of a particular crisis . . . may suggest”? Downes v. Bidwell, 182 U. S. 244, 384 (1901) (Harlan, J., dissenting).”
Excerpts from Governor Hochul Speech:
“We are not through this pandemic. I wished we were but I prayed a lot to God during this time and you know what – God did answer our prayers. He made the smartest men and women, the scientists, the doctors, the researchers – he made them come up with a vaccine. That is from God to us and we must say, thank you, God. Thank you. And I wear my ‘vaccinated’ necklace all the time to say I’m vaccinated. All of you, yes, I know you’re vaccinated, you’re the smart ones, but you know there’s people out there who aren’t listening to God and what God wants. You know who they are.
I need you to be my apostles. I need you to go out and talk about it and say, we owe this to each other. We love each other. Jesus taught us to love one another and how do you show that love but to care about each other enough to say, please get the vaccine because I love you and I want you to live, I want our kids to be safe when they’re in schools, I want to be safe when you go to a doctor’s office or to a hospital and are treated by somebody, you don’t want to get the virus from them. You’re already sick or you wouldn’t be there. We have to solve this, my friends. I need every one of you.”
“SEPTEMBER 12, 2021
Video, Audio, Photos & Rush Transcript: Governor Hochul Attends Services at Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem”
“It does feel good to be home, doesn’t it, my friends? This is beautiful. This is beautiful. And every one of you is able to participate in person because you did something that was really smart. You got vaccinated, right? You’re all able to sit here because you got vaccinated.
And also you actually believe that it’s smart to wear masks, right? I mean, this is a rather simple thing, but out there, there are forces that don’t believe in this. Well, let me tell you they’re so wrong.
Because we reflect back on what we just came through for 18 excruciating months. It was like we were led to the valley of death for a long time. We lost too many people that we cared about and too many people ended up in hospitals on ventilators, and too many people didn’t even get the dignity of a proper service at the end of their lives as they transition, because we are still in this incredible surreal experience, where we couldn’t even gather to mourn as a community. We were denied all that and also our healthcare workers, and I’m so glad to see our friends from Sloan Kettering.
You are truly God’s angels on earth, what you’ve done, you and so many others are fearless. Talk about fearless people, still while there’s a threat of their own lives being snuffed out because of this pandemic, you still put on your uniforms and you went into your office and you went into the hospital, you went into medical centers and you stood there and said, we are the first line of defense to protect the people against this pandemic. To our healthcare care workers across the State of New York, Let’s give them a resounding round of applause. You are incredible.
But throughout the whole experience of the pandemic, a lot of people prayed to God. Right? Did a lot of prayers. I prayed, I prayed to God, God deliver us from this. And then he did. He inspired the smartest scientists and doctors and researchers to create a vaccine. God gave us that through men and women so we could be delivered from this pandemic. So how can you say no to that? How can you believe that God would give a vaccine that would cause you harm? That is not the truth. Those are just lies out there on social media.
And all of you, have to be not just the true believers, but our apostles to go out there and spread the word that we can get out of this once and for all, if everybody gets vaccinated.
And we’ll get it done. And I want our kids back in school because so many of your kids and grandkids and great-grandkids, the little Black and brown children throughout the state, they’re the ones hardest hit. They did nothing wrong. Their moms and dads and grandmas and grandpas wanted them in school and they couldn’t go because it wasn’t safe.
We are fighting to make the classroom safe so they can get back to some sense of normal, start picking up the pieces and let them be children, who can be educated once again and get that shot at the American dream that an education can give all of us. The American dream that was delivered to my own grandparents when they fled great poverty. When they came to America and had a great big family, my dad being the oldest, it was an education, a college degree that lifted him up from living in a trailer park. I’ve seen firsthand how an education can elevate people. And I want every one of our babies to have the best education they possibly can.
So they also can live that American dream that we’re all entitled to. So we need them back in school. We need to keep them safe. So spread the word. Children that are 12 to 17, they can get a vaccine right now. You don’t send your babies off to kindergarten till they’re vaccinated, right? You can’t enter the door in kindergarten until you’re vaccinated. This is just one more vaccine. I want those children vaccinated because right now in the State of New York, only 50 percent of them are vaccinated. We can do better my friends, can we not do better than that? Let’s protect those kids so they can get a good education and end up with a great life. That’s what this is all about.
But the pandemic was not just a health crisis. It was a crisis where people just lost their jobs. They lost their opportunity to put food on the table for their families and many of them were in danger of losing their homes and their apartments. They couldn’t even afford to pay rent anymore.
I saw this my first days as your governor. I saw that this was a crisis and because of the Supreme Court who didn’t really care about people we had to take affirmative action. And I want to thank my lieutenant governor for being one of the leaders to make sure that we fought back. We pulled back the Legislature.
They’re not used to coming back in the summertime. That’s all right. They work hard in their districts. They usually come back in January. I said, this is an emergency. You need to show up in Albany right now and we have to pass an extension of the moratorium so some landlord will not throw you out in the street and make sure that you do not end up homeless, no fault to your own.
But also to help the landlords who themselves have been struggling. There’s money from the federal government. Thank you, Joe Biden, for making sure we had this money, but it wasn’t getting out. So please, there are forms out there. There’s information. Let everyone know who feels in danger of losing their home or a landlord who needs that help, that there’s money available to them. So I want all of you, I’m needing all of you. You’re out there in the community. You’re the influencers. You talk to a lot of people. Please tell them this information.
And lastly, one of my highest priorities that I spoke about as I was sworn in, we have to protect our streets. We need to get our crime under control.
We need to get guns out of our neighborhoods, out of our children’s hands and give them a job instead of a gun. That’s what we have to do next, my friends.
And again, my partner in government, our lieutenant governor is going to be side-by-side with me as we work tirelessly to eradicate the loss of human life, the young people gunned down in their neighborhoods, perhaps joining a game because they didn’t think there was another alternative or perhaps to support a drug habit.
And I was passionate about fighting the heroin and opioid crisis because I lost my own nephew to that, a young man starting out of high school, job, sad to think about. Just a kid, got injured at a job, workplace injury, doctor prescribed prescription drugs. You trust the doctor, you take the prescription drugs, all of a sudden an addiction develops, and then you end up on the streets and sometimes in and out of jail and in homeless shelters, and then your life spirals out of control because you’re in the throes of something you can’t control.
I don’t want that to happen to anyone else. That is too painful for families. So, we’re going to do this together, my friends, and we’re also giving people the dignity of a great home over their heads. Everybody deserves to live in a NYCHA building that is safe, that is warm in the winter, cool In the summer, that the elevators work. We have some problems, my friends. I’ve been in there; we can do better.
So, I am so fired up. I really feel I’m up for the challengers because as God knows, sometimes we need partners to move forward. And I think back to about someone named Joshua, Joshua from the Old Testament. Now, Moses was the big name. I mean, Moses is the one who led everybody years of wandering, you know, parting the rivers, safe, getting people to safety.
But when it came down to it, Joshua was also at his side. Joshua was there to help lead the people and he didn’t have the staff to part the Jordan River when they needed to get across. So what did he use? He used the promise of God. If you keep moving forward, I’ll be there to help him find the way. Just like Joshua, my side of my lieutenant governor and I were going to keep leading the people were going to keep moving forward.
And if there’s a raging river or a flood or a hurricane that I had last week with a lot of flood waters, we know how to cross over. We know how to bring the people with us and we will get there. And we will be a stronger, more inclusive state where everybody, regardless of the color of the skin or where you were born or where your grandparents from, it doesn’t matter. This is the greatest state in the history of mankind. This is the great state of New York. We came through COVID, we fought back. We fought back after 9/11 and no one will dare touch us again because we are so courageous in the many years after that horrible specter.
So, this is in our DNA, my friends, we have this, we have this power and it doesn’t come from man or woman. It came from God. And I will always honor the responsibilities that God has put on my shoulders. As I dropped to my knees, when I found out if I be governor, I said, God, please grant me wisdom and grant me strength. And I feel it coming through your prayers and I’m asking for more. And I thank you for the privilege of representing you.
This is the highest honor of my life. Thank you very much.https://archive.md/rtTMM
“SEPTEMBER 26, 2021
Rush Transcript: Governor Hochul Attends Service at Christian Cultural Center
Rush Transcript: Governor Hochul Attends Service at Christian Cultural Center Governor Hochul: “I need you to be my apostles. I need you to go out and talk about it and say, we owe this to each other. We love each other. Jesus taught us to love one another and how do you show that love but to care about each other enough to say, please get the vaccine because I love you and I want you to live, I want our kids to be safe when they’re in schools, I want to be safe when you go to a doctor’s office or to a hospital and are treated by somebody, you don’t want to get the virus from them. You’re already sick or you wouldn’t be there. We have to solve this, my friends. I need every one of you. I need you to let them know that this is how we can fight this pandemic.”
Earlier today, Governor Kathy Hochul attended service at Christian Cultural Center in Brooklyn.
A rush transcript of the Governor’s remarks is available below:
The phrase be to God, this is the day the Lord has made. Amen, amen. Reverend Bernard, you’ve always made me feel at home here, part of the family, and I thank you once again for giving me what I need most and will continue to need the most – and that is the prayers and support of all New Yorkers but particularly this community.
Before I get started, for a few moments a reflection on what this tremendous honor means to me. I want to recognize a few people that are here with me today, and just as we saw that beautiful video talking about an anniversary coming up, you’ve had a life partner in First Lady Karen, and I’ve had the pleasure of having my own life partner who has lifted me up and has been by my side for 37 years, ladies and gentlemen I want to introduce you to the first First Gentleman of New York, my husband Bill Hochul. And not only did he help me, President Obama asked him to work with him to fight crime for eight years as a prosecutor and he broke up a lot of gangs and turned a lot of people around to the right side of the law so he has been a champion to help fight crime and protect our communities for most of his career.
Also joined by someone you’re going to get to know and love if you don’t already and that is my Lieutenant Governor Brian Benjamin. Brian Benjamin, please stand up. He is smart, he is passionate and he’s got the cutest little girl and I just want to see her often as well, so he’s a man of great character as well and that’s what I was looking for as a partner of mine as we go forth and talk about the needs of the people of the state but also not just talk but to do something about them and solve them.
Another person I got to know so well as a member of Congress, a tremendous friend of mine who always joins me when I come here is Congressman Hakeem Jeffries. Hakeem Jeffries, thank you. Thank you for fighting the good fight in Washington, my friend. He is on our side and we need him.
Also my friend in State government Assemblymember Jaime Williams is here, great friend of mine, and also Councilmember Farah Louis is here, Pastor Jimmy Lim, Rabbi Potasnik who I see almost every day it seems and thank you for your spiritual leadership as well.
I will be brief because I know you want to hear the Word and the beautiful singers who I also draw such strength from. I am humbled and just as Reverend Bernard and First Lady Karen were called to the ministry to leave their lives and serve way back in 1979 I feel that God has tapped me on the shoulder as well because everything I have done in life has been because of the Grace of God leading me to that place and now God has asked me to serve humbly as your servant, as your Governor, and yes it is the first female governor. That’s kind of exciting but I feel the responsibility more than ever because of that, because I know I also cannot let my sisters down. I have to succeed for them.
If I can demonstrate that women can govern with strength, courage but also heart and compassion and show a different way to lead this state, we bring people together as women so naturally do, then other women will be able to follow behind me and step into the roles of power. That’s what’s on my shoulder right now, the weight that I bear, but I embrace that opportunity.
Also, my friends, we have so many people in need. I have walked these streets. You may not know me personally but I know every block. I know these communities. I’ve been here for seven straight years as Lieutenant Governor and I’ve seen people at their lowest lows and I’ve seen them at their greatest highs. I want to make sure that every person, particularly our kids, don’t succumb to the hopelessness that leads them to the streets and leads them to crime. They can have a better shot in life if people like all of us and government and the clergy working together can show them that path and that’s what I’m committed to do.
Also, I understand the challenges of being new to this country and a new immigrant and what that means and feeling like sometimes it’s just not what you expected. I reflect on my own grandparents who fled great poverty and ended up being migrant workers here in this country and ended up working in a steel plant. My father, the eldest of eight children, lived in a trailer park when he first married my mom. That’s how our family started, working at the steel plant, toiling with their hands, and unfortunately growing up in an area that was contaminated by pollution but we didn’t know any better. But we broke out of that for one reason.
My dad was able to get a college degree, and very young person who wants the ticket out, we have to make sure that they have a world-class start in life from the time they’re little preschoolers all the way on up to let them fulfill their dreams in whatever career they want. That is my commitment to you to make sure that those opportunities are there and people help find them.
We also got hit so hard by this pandemic and I don’t want to take you down a bad flashback or watch that movie again because it was so excruciatingly painful, and we still have people who are not back to their jobs, no fault to their own. Many of our restaurant workers, people who work in hotels, people whose jobs are not their yet and it’s not their fault. They were having trouble making the rental payments and we had money because of Chuck Schumer and Hakeem Jeffries and Kirsten Gillibrand and our other leaders and President Joe Biden. Thank God for President Joe Biden. He sent money to us to help people with the rent payments but it wasn’t being spent for some reason.
My first day on the job I said, no more. Get this money out to the people who need it, and we’re so proud of the success we’ve had to help people make those rental payments to their landlords who also are sometimes are small businesspeople who are just struggling so much.
We also have to get more money out to our small businesses, help them survive. Child care money – I found that there’s all these pods of money that haven’t been spent and we’re going to be making sure that that money gets out to people.
But also make sure that we fight for true criminal justice reform and that’s not just locking people up, it’s saying you are only there if you need to be there but when you’ve paid your debt to society welcome back and we’re going to help you find a job because you are now reunited with your family. That’s the hope we have to give people.
And as far as coming back, we have to get this community back and what we went through this pandemic made us stronger. I believe that, especially when I talk to young people who weren’t able to have their graduations from high school or a normal life for the last 18 months. I say to them whatever comes your way in life you are stronger. You are more resilient. God let you survive this pandemic because he wants you to do great things someday. He let you live through this when so many other people did not and that is also your responsibility. But how do we keep more people alive?
We are not through this pandemic. I wished we were but I prayed a lot to God during this time and you know what – God did answer our prayers. He made the smartest men and women, the scientists, the doctors, the researchers – he made them come up with a vaccine. That is from God to us and we must say, thank you, God. Thank you. And I wear my ‘vaccinated’ necklace all the time to say I’m vaccinated. All of you, yes, I know you’re vaccinated, you’re the smart ones, but you know there’s people out there who aren’t listening to God and what God wants. You know who they are.
I need you to be my apostles. I need you to go out and talk about it and say, we owe this to each other. We love each other. Jesus taught us to love one another and how do you show that love but to care about each other enough to say, please get the vaccine because I love you and I want you to live, I want our kids to be safe when they’re in schools, I want to be safe when you go to a doctor’s office or to a hospital and are treated by somebody, you don’t want to get the virus from them. You’re already sick or you wouldn’t be there. We have to solve this, my friends. I need every one of you. I need you to let them know that this is how we can fight this pandemic, come back to normal and then start talking about the real issues that we have to – fighting systemic racial injustice which exists today and if there is a denier I will take you on every day because I’ve seen it, I know it exists and we’re not going to have a blind eye to this ever again any longer under my watch. That is my commitment to you.
You’re going to see a very diverse administration. You’re going to see people from all walks of life having a shot to make a difference in government because I believe the only purpose of government is to lift people up and to serve. I’ve been a public servant my whole life and I believe there is a strong intersection between the teachings of the New and the Old testaments and what we have been told to do, the lessons we’ve been given, delivered to us in places like this all over America, and if we’re listening to those messages, it’s calling all of us but particularly those who’ve been called to serve as public servants, positions like Governor and Congressmember, Assemblymember, Council Member, all of us have an extra weight of responsibility because as you heard in the earlier songs today and they’re so beautiful and I thank them for lifting my heart and my soul listening to music, one of the messages was, God will keep his promise to you. God will keep his promise to you.
And here is my promise to you, my friends. I will use the inspiration of God in my life and fight for you every single day as your governor and beyond. Thank you very much for listening. Thank you for the privilege of representing you.“
The New York Governor is a Rochford (mother) -Courtney (father). This may be her ancestor: “Robert Rochfort, 1st Earl of Belvedere PC (26 March 1708 – 13 November 1774) was an Anglo-Irish politician and peer. He became notorious for his abusive treatment of his second wife, Mary Molesworth.”. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Rochfort%2C_1st_Earl_of_Belvedere She seems to be Anglo-Norman/Anglo-Irish. And, yes, Rochfort and Rochford are the same name. Courtney can be Anglo-Norman or native Irish but since Rochford is Anglo-Irish/Norman we guess this Courtney is likely the Anglo-Norman Courtney.
“The Sordid Tale Behind the Jealous Wall”
October 23, 2013 in Ireland, Irish History http://atriptoireland.com/2013/10/23/the-sordid-tale-behind-the-jealous-wall/